1980s Booker Prize

Flying to Nowhere – John Fuller

Short listed for the Booker Prize 1983

‘Flying to Nowhere’ is set on a Welsh island, and is centred around a monastery. A church agent comes to the island to investigate the disappearance of pilgrims visiting a sacred well, while the local abbot is at his dissection table searching for the location of the soul.

I have no idea why this book was short listed for the Booker prize in 1983 – it is so dull!  
At only 88 pages long it was a very quick read, but it seemed to take ages, as there was nothing in the book that captivated me. The plot was very basic, the characters failed to engage me, and there was too much rumination on life, death, the spirit and the soul.
Not for me.

2 replies on “Flying to Nowhere – John Fuller”

I found this book perhaps the most engaging novel I’ve come across in at least a decade, and I read a lot. Flying to Nowhere is that rare thing, a short book that grapples, seriously, with ultimate meanings; though by the end we do not know much more about those things than we did at the beginning, we do come to understand that some of the ways we may see things through a Christian perspective are very much open to challenge. One character in the book, a religious brother, spends the greatest part of his life in a laboratory dissecting human bodies in search of the soul. Not only does he not find it, he also comes to understand that any such search is the wrong search indeed. He also discovers that the miraculous curing powers of the waters from a nearby well are wasted on humankind, because they operate only to support the other life forms on earth. I’ve not said any of this very well, but this short novel is loaded with provocative questions about mankind’s ultimate journey, and to anyone who cares about that journey, I highly recommend this book.

Tomtrilobite – Thank you so much for your insight into this book. You have highlighted so many reasons why I should love it. You’re right, all those points are present – I guess I just have very diiferent taste in books to you. I’m not a very religious person and so many of those things pass me by. I prefer plot based novels, with strong characters and I didn’t find any here.

I’m pleased that other people who come to read this post can now see your point of view too.

Thank you for taking the time to write it.

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